February 11, 2009
In the afterglow of a historic inaugural, it's tempting to view the necessity of fighting for Civil Rights as an archaic call to arms.
But for progressives immersed in the mechanics of changing lives, it serves as a milestone, not a destination: While much has been accomplished, much needs to be done.
In Massachusetts, a new bill addressing equality, an Act to Restore Enforcement of Civil Rights, sponsored by Representative Byron Rushing and State Senator James Eldridge, was introduced in the state legislature last month. ACE is a founding member of a large and growing coalition of organizations supporting the bill because we believe it will help achieve environmental justice.
If passed, the bill would grant people the right to sue in state court if a state program or policy has a disparate impact based on race, color, national origin or gender. The bill would fill a void in Massachusetts civil rights laws. Read more...
February 9, 2009
We are pleased to announce that effective today, ACE has a new Executive Director! Please read on to hear from our outgoing Director, Penn Loh, and our incoming Director, Kalila Barnett.
January 16, 2009
Thanks to the work of groups like the Boston Workers’ Alliance (BWA), Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) reforms are beginning to take shape in Massachusetts.
CORI is a database created in the ’70s for use by law enforcements agencies. Today, the BWA says about 10,000 organizations can access CORI reports and that these records are "used to deny people jobs, housing credit and student loans." The campaign for CORI reform aims to end discrimination for qualified ex-offenders who have paid their debt to society.
In its draft of new CORI procedures, the EOHHS recommends that rehabilitated offenders be "given a fair opportunity to be employed and reintegrated successfully into the workplace." Read more...
December 26, 2008
Thanks to your support, it's been a fun and productive year at ACE. Together, we have made great strides for environmental justice in the Boston area and beyond.
To learn more about our work, please sign up for our e-newsletter.
Wishing everyone a wonderful holiday season. Looking forward to posting more blogs in 2009!
December 12, 2008
With the holiday season in full swing, wouldn't it be nice to get all your gift shopping done and do good at the same time?
For the person on your list who seems to have everything, why not consider giving an ACE Gift Membership?
We'll send a welcome card that shares your gift, ACE swag and an introduction to environmental justice work.
Your recipient will also receive our monthly (occasionally semi-monthly) newsletter to keep in the loop on upcoming events and campaigns.
What could be better than that?
For a $15 donation, your friend, family member or colleague will receive a Welcome Card, an ACE Membership Card and an Annual Report Booklet. A $40 donation will add in a T Riders Union (TRU) T-shirt, featuring our signature transit justice program. A $75 donation includes all of above, plus our 20-minute video that showcases the people and stories behind our work. Read more...
December 5, 2008
Did you know that asthma is more prevalent in New England then anywhere else in the country? Or that African Americans who were born in the U.S. are three times more likely to develop asthma then African Americans born outside the country?
A 2005 study of asthma rates in Dorchester published in the Journal of Asthma last month discovered these statistics and showed a strong correlation between asthma and environmental factors in children. This shows what we have long known, that the disproportionate share of environmental burdens in neighborhoods of color like Dorchester and Roxbury adversely affect the well-being of residents. ACE Board Member Neal-Dra Osgood worked on this groundbreaking research, surveying Dorchester residents to compile asthma information. Read more...
December 2, 2008
The Energy Empowerment Coalition met on November 25 at Boston's historic Faneuil Hall to rouse community support for more programs to address the Commonwealth’s energy needs this winter and in the future. Speakers included Senator John Kerry, Reverend Hurmon Hamilton of the Black Ministerial Alliance and Marina Spitkovskaya of ACE
Formed by a growing number of individuals, public officials and organizations dissatisfied with the Commonwealth’s Winter Energy Cost Task Force report released last month, the new coalition wants the state to take a more aggressive and collaborative approach to the looming fuel crisis outlined in the report. Read more...
November 24, 2008
It concerns us greatly that Governor Patrick has announced drastic cuts in the Office of Technical Assistance (OTA), the program in the Energy and Environmental Affairs office that helps industries reduce and eliminate their use of toxic chemicals and processes. The proposed cuts to OTA are so severe that they will prevent OTA from functioning effectively. We urge Governor Patrick to re-think those cuts.
A study performed two years ago found that OTA helped industries reduce the use of toxic chemicals in Massachusetts by hundreds of millions of pounds. The study showed that companies did far better at reducing their toxics after being helped by OTA than they did before working with OTA. It was the first time an assistance program like OTA proved its effectiveness, and the report was applauded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and written up in environmental journals.
People living and working near industries assisted by OTA, as well as the workers in those industries, are the biggest beneficiaries of the reduced use of toxic chemicals. When less toxic chemicals are used, there are lower risks involved in their transportation, storage, use, and disposal. This results in less air pollution, water pollution, hazardous waste and fewer toxins in our products. Read more...
November 18, 2008
The Globe's Green Blog recently highlighted a study touting the health benefits of community green space.
The study suggested that parks, trees, and landscaped areas in a neighborhood can help reduce residents' risk of heart attack and stroke.
Even the tiniest green spaces can be powerful tools in confronting public health problems. As one of the doctors who conducted the study put it, "This study offers valuable evidence that green space does more than 'pretty up' the neighborhood - it appears to have real effects on health inequality, of a kind that politicians and health authorities should take seriously."
ACE has understood and advocated for the benefits of green spaces for a long time. Green spaces, in the form of parks, urban farms, and trees on local streets, can reduce localized pollution and encourage recreation. Read more...
November 14, 2008
A warm thank you to everyone who came out and made ACE's Annual Meeting a blast this year. It was great to see so many members and supporters and be able to share this work for environmental justice - we wouldn't be able to do it without you.
Much appreciation also goes to our volunteers, members and interns who helped set things up and made the event run smoothly all night. Enjoy the pictures!
See more pictures...